The NSW Coalition Government have pushed to debate the hugely controversial Local Land Services Amendment Bill 2020 with the hope of slipping it through parliament before the year’s end.
This is a sly, sickening act.
In my speech today I will ask the members supporting the bill, “what are you going to say when your grandchildren, indeed children, ask what happened to all the koalas? Will you tell them you killed them? The world is watching. I call upon you to cross the floor on this critical issue, but also to escape an imploding government within which misleading and deceptive conduct has just been exposed by a key minister. What a revolting mess. Get out.”
This is the big one. This is the bill that could spell doom for NSW’s already devastated koala populations.
For koalas, this bill will deliver the fatal blow. The loss of these limited protections will trigger an existential crisis; without habitat, koalas cannot survive.
If passed, the LLS amendment bill will undo over two decades of progress in koala conservation by:
preventing koala habitat throughout NSW from being mapped and zoned thoroughly
removing protections for logging koala habitat on private land
tightening the definition of “core koala habitat”
removing the ability of councils to control private logging activity
decreasing transparency related to logging activity
The bill also completely ignores the scientific findings and recommendations put to the government by:
* the NSW Audit Office
* the Natural Resources Commission
* the NSW Upper House Koala Inquiry
* The Independent Biodiversity Review Panel
To make matters worse, last night the controversial Bushfires Legislation Amendment Bill 2020 passed through the Upper House with the support of Liberal and Labor. Last week, the bill was rammed through the Lower House in just 24 hours, giving ministers no real chance to analyse the bill. This means thousands of hectares of bushland, including critical koala habitat, will be allowed to be cleared under the pretence of bushfire prevention. It is absolutely absurd to think that clearing 25 metres will make any difference to the kind of fires we saw during the 2019-2020 Black Summer season.
Here’s what you need to know about the bill:
It is at odds with the 76 recommendations of the independent bushfire inquiry
There are recommendations in the bill which have no basis in scientific evidence and no basis in a risk-based approach.
There was no consultation with relevant services.
Landholders would be able to clear 25 metres along their boundaries – no questions asked, including boundaries where many koala habitat trees have survived and are vital corridors.
There’s ways to protect NSW from bushfires – and this isn’t it